On Being Jesus Juked and the Double Juke

Last night I learned about the Jesus Juke. How it had escaped my attention for so long is beyond me. If you’re not familiar with the Jesus Juke, here is a brief description of how Jon Acuff defines the Jesus Juke:

I call it the “Jesus Juke.”

Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy (Jon Acuff. The Jesus Juke. Posted 11/16/2010 at www.StuffChristiansLike.net).

Jon goes on to describe what results from a Jesus Juke. The Jesus Juke generates shame, awkwardness, and is ultimately unproductive for gospel work.

Jesus Juke Culprit

How did I learn about the Jesus Juke? I became a Jesus Juke culprit, and I got rightly called out. I’m thankful for being called out. I learned something new, and I am better for it. God grew me through the experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m still learning social cues. Sometimes I don’t pay close attention to the context. And in this case I got bit. If I had carefully read the Twitter conversation, I would have seen that everyone else took the initial Tweet and ran in a comical direction. I callously brought an air of pretentious hyper-spirituality to the conversation and killed it. What a fail!

Too Serious or Too Awkward

Here’s something else I learned. I am a bit of a Winston. Winston is a character from the New Girl. In season 2, episode 4 entitled “Neighbors” we discover that Winston is not any good at pranks. He does one of two things. He either under-pranks, going too small, or over pranks, going way too big. When Nick decides to prank Schmidt, their roommate Winston suggests putting shavings next to Schmidt’s car, which Nick just calls littering. Then Winston suggests putting acid on his face — way too big!

Well, that’s me, but socially. I am either too serious or too awkward. I struggle with finding that middle ground. That’s good to recognize, because now I know I need to go somewhere from here.

What About the Double Juke

As a Jesus Juke culprit, I also learned something else. I got called out and being called out made me think about the self-defeating nature of calling out jukers. When someone points out that you juked them, they in themselves are a Jesus Juke. The culprit is in turn shamed, feels awkward, and is discouraged.

When I got called out, I at first favorited it. Why? Because I had no idea what a Jesus Juke was, I just took it as a compliment. But then I did my research. I immediately felt contrition. Within the hour I deleted my Tweet and another that followed.

What Should the Juked Do

Here’s a suggestion. One that I’m taking for myself. If you get juked, and inevitably you will, I suggest privately letting the person know that they juked you. Give ‘em a chance to right the Jesus Juke. In social media, one can delete something. In life, one can retract what is said. Help people out, especially those who just don’t know better or are unaware. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I know I will.

I really respect the guy who called me out. I think he’s brilliant, sharp, and godly. I’m super grateful that he called me out. If he hadn’t, I would continue on in my juking ways. So thanks to all those who instruct. Thanks for helping us along our way.

My friend Derek Rishmawy tweeted this the same day I became a Jesus Juke culprit, and I’m glad it is true.

Yep. I am! Have a Good Friday. I am! I’m grateful for the goodness God extended through the stretched arms of Christ. I’m looking forward to having those arms embrace me one day.

Running Through Life

This morning, as I readied to work out, my son watched me dress in my work out gear. He mysteriously disappeared and reappeared a few minutes later, holding his tennis shoes and dressed in athletic shorts and a tee.

“Daddy, I’m ready to go. Let’s go run.”

He’s short of three years old and wouldn’t last a minute on a treadmill, nor would watching me on one for 25 minutes entertain him. I responded with a gentle, “No buddy. Not today. Daddy’s going to go on his own run. The equipment is big and dangerous. Too big for you. And you’ll be bored watching me.”

Asher didn’t seem shaken. He was cool about the whole thing. Yeah, he was a little disappointed, but I could tell he accepted the circumstances. As I left, I thought to myself, “I really hate telling him ‘No.’” There are the normal reasons for saying “No”, reasons that protect, train, and instruct. The hard times to say “No” are the relational times that would be so much fun to enjoy together.

I tell myself often, “Don’t try to accomplish too much with him. Don’t expect to get a lot done. Just enjoy being with him. Spend quality time with this little man. He’s yours to steward. God gave him as a gift so that he might carry on your legacy.”

It’s Hard to Imagine

It’s hard to imagine life without Asher. He’s funny, smart, clever, curious, busy, and courageous. He’s everything I was as a child, and he’s the uninhibited version of everything I still want to be. If the Lord took him home, I’d be sad…very sad.

Why am I thinking about this right now? Partly it is because God keeps putting death’s inevitability in my path. It started a couple weeks ago when our community group studied Galatians 3:10-14. We discussed the result of the curse: sin leading to death; we celebrated the freedom from this captivity that Christ offers.

Then I read this thoughtful post from Nancy Guthrie this week, “Please Don’t Make My Funeral About Me.” Here’s an excerpt:

When I die, you won’t have to wonder what I would have wanted. You’ll know. You’ll know that nothing would make me happier than for my funeral to be all about Christ instead of all about me. Please make it all about his righteous life and not my feeble efforts at good works. Make it about his coming to defeat death and not my courage (or lack thereof) in the face of death. Make it about his emergence from the grave with the keys to death and the grave, which changes everything about putting my body into a grave.

That’s it! That’s absolutely the attitude in which we approach death. But, how aware are we? Are we weary of death’s loom? It appears only to be so in those deafening reminders wrought in loss. That’s when Ecclesiastes 7:2 becomes real, ”It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

More and More Reminders

Have you realized that it has been over a year since the tragic loss of Matthew Warren, the son of Rick Warren? Pastors are normally prepared to walk through the valley of death with others. But walking through it themselves must be excruciatingly painful, especially when it is with their own son. As Theodin King of Rohan in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers said, “No parent should have to bury their child.” Still, some do and will.

I had yet another reminder this morning. I stirred from my bed at 6:30am and glanced at my phone. There was a solitary text notification, “Scott’s dad passed away last night.” It was sent by my best friend, and it concerned the father of one of our other close friends from high school.

At a ten year high school reunion there is always that awkward discussion of who didn’t make it. I’m not talking about those who didn’t want to travel or those who think reunions are for schmucks. I’m talking about those who are held back by the curtain of death that stands between we, the living, and them, the deceased.

But it’s different when the first of our parents pass away. It’s sobering realizing that it’s only a matter of time before it could be my father or mother in a casket. And that saddens me.

I’m reminded of N D Willson from Death by Living:

My wife was laughing. She is laughing. She has not stopped. We ran from the darting sunlit rains and the lightning and the night.

We haven’t stopped running but we are getting slower. We have little people running with us now. We have passed others. Our own people will pass us. They will grow and meet others who are young and strong and they will feel as if they are part of the very beginning of life.

We may fall on our knees or into a final sleep, but we will see the inside of that storm. We will see the other side of that storm, where there is no death from living.

The young will mark the sand with a stone and gather round to scatter words on the wind and ponder the speed of time, of life, of grace.

I do it now.

And I Do It Now Too

If I’m honest, my running through life is a shallow attempt to evade death. I exercise as a therapeutic method to manage my fear of death’s loom.

Life is fleeting; time expires. But grace continues on. Grace wroughts grace — the grace God bestowed upon us we share with others — until we all enjoy grace together forever. In the meantime, we keep sharing; we keep caring for one another. Not just because grace wroughts grace but because glory emanates glory.

I want my son to experience grace and to see glory. Being a pastor’s kid is no easy way. For Asher, there will be other times I am compelled to say, “No.” This make me sensitive to the needs of my child. I want to be accessible to him. I want him to know how much I love him. I want him to see how significant he is to me.

As often as I may, he will be with me. He will especially be with me in those certain passages of life we need to run together. One of those is the passage of life that learns death. My son and I will learn this together. We will go to the hospitals; we will go to the funerals. We will look at death’s loom together and be sobered.

It will strike us closely as we let our loved ones go past death’s curtain.

I sense that now as my 93 year old grandma is into a senior living residence. In the coming weeks our family will visit that place we call home, Mansfield Texas. My three children will likely visit great-grandma for the last time. Little Asher will not fully understand what is coming, and I suppose neither do I. We will learn death together.

And meanwhile, we will learn to run together. We will enjoy the breeze on our backs and the hot sun on our faces.

View-Worthy: 4.18.14

Headliner

Lynde Langdon. Can A Divided Publishing House Stand. (WORLD)

You can be gay and Christian: That’s the message of a book due out next week from a publishing group known until now for its evangelical worldview. But the book will emerge from a new imprint designed to allow the publishing house to avoid alienating its evangelical market.

Deal of the Day

The Cross in the Experience of Our Lord R A Finlayson $2.99

Book Review

Michael Bird, Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling. How God Became Jesus. Reviewed by Andreas Kostenberger.

Links

Mark Altrogge. People Want to Have Hope.

When Jesus saves us he puts a hope in our hearts that we never had before – the hope of glory. We have a hope of someday seeing the glorious face of Jesus. We have the hope of being “glorified” – completely conformed to Christ in new immortal heavenly bodies. When we grieve the death of a believer, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, for we have a sure hope of seeing our loved one again in heaven. We have hope of eternal life. We have hope that we will dwell in a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Dan Darling. No, All Christian Content Shouldn’t Be Free.

A few years ago, when I was a pastor, I had a hard time explaining to a rather cranky member why we, as a church, had to pay for a license to use Christian music in our worship services. “They should give it away freely. Why do I have to pay for it? I thought this was ministry. Why they are out to make money?” What made this man’s beef all the more interesting is that I had just concluded, a day earlier, a long conversation with him about what he considered unfair pay at his work. The irony was lost on him, but not me.

Kelly Needham. The Best Marriage I Never Wanted. (CBMW)

I married a humble, godly, romantic man at twenty years old. Did I mention he just happens to have a phenomenal voice and is a gifted songwriter? He writes me songs, loves Jesus like crazy, and because of his music career, we’ve traveled the world together. Every girls’ dream, right? Yet, exactly two weeks into marriage, I wrote this in my journal:

“Why am I so unhappy? So scared and confused?”

Surprised? I was too. Let me explain.

Edify

Gal. 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ — ”

“Death by definition is something which is completely unfruitful.” D Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Galatians 3:10-14

Gal. 3:10   For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—  14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

We’re all under a curse. This curse is founded in our sin nature and leads to death. We suffer daily under the affliction of sin. Many will be doomed to eternal suffering lest the gospel is preached, God gives them faith, and they respond to His message.

Throughout my life I have faced no greater fear than death. I recall during my childhood sitting up in bed past bedtime in the dark, fearing that I might not wake from slumber, fearing death. I recall attending my first funeral, peering into a cold, well made up, pristine face and empty gaze. We all look death in the face at different times. It might be when we face news of cancer or when we lose a beloved. We all stare it back in different ways: some with courage, others with anxiety, still others in panic.

Our greatest comfort for the curse is Christ. As our substitute, He became our curse (v. 13). This verse looks back to Deuteronomy 21:23 which says, “[For] a hanged man is cursed by God.” Jesus Christ hung from the cross because He was hung there by men. Really, he was hung there by you and me. Art Alexakis, lead man for Everclear, was not far off in his song “Jesus Was A Democrat” when he sung, ”Jesus was a left-wing, radical, Jew murdered by people like you.”

We did this to Him because He wanted to do this for us. He kindly stared death in the face so that we would not. Our experience will be but a momentary translation from one plane of existence to another. Today’s world is but a shadow and beauty of the world will we see in that day. Of course this promise is only for those who believe. For others who do not believe, today world is a shadow of the hell they will experience one day.

For C S Lewis, the celebrated medieval scholar, poet, and author, wrote in the Great Divorce “the Blessed will say ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,’ and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly.”

Maybe your destiny is certain and you know that the Lord is keeping you for heaven. But what about the others, what about those in your sphere of influence that do not know the Lord. How can you comfort them with these truths? How will you communicate that Christ became a curse for you so that you will not experience the curse of death?

If you’re relying on works of the law to earn God’s favor, you are in an impossible situation. Christ offers to rescue you from that dismal condition. Rely on Christ. Walk by faith.

 

View-Worthy: 4.17.14

Headliner

Nancy Guthrie. Please Don’t Make My Funeral All About Me. (TGC)

I just got home from another funeral. Seems we’ve gone to more than our share lately. And once again, as I left the church, I pled with those closest to me, “Please don’t make my funeral all about me.”

Deal of the Day

Christ Formed in You by Brian Hedges $1.99

Book Review

Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor. The Final Days of Jesus. Reviewed by Nate Clairborne.

Links

Trevin Wax. The 4 Stages of Writing and the 3 Mistakes We Make.

I recently came across the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, a book that has a chapter on the four stages of the writing process. Reflecting on my experience writing blogs and non-fiction books, I recognized these stages even if I’d never consciously labeled them this way.

Douglas Wilson. So Go Nomo to the Pomo.

So I have written about the problems of postmodernism, what I have called the problem of European brain snakes. This might seem a little dismissive, but it all works out, because it actually is dismissive. Allow me to collect my thoughts on this in one place.

Marvin Olasky. Let’s Play “What’s Inappropriate?” (WORLD)

Anyone for a new game called “What’s Inappropriate?” It could be like “Where’s Waldo?” Find the reason a Christian isn’t allowed to post a particular statement on a website that usually cries out for more content in the hope of gaining more eyeballs.

Edify

Ecc. 7:2 “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

“Death is fundamentally God’s imposed limitation on human arrogance.” D A Carson

Jesus Expiate That (Servants of Grace Guest Post)

In our home in Tulsa we had an oubliette in the garage. Oubliette is French for “a place of forgetting”. Whenever something broke, I would stick it in that corner and leave it. Sometimes this would be for weeks, months, or even a year.

I loved that place. I could just shove something into that corner and forget about it. That is until the occasion when I miraculously had margin, and courage, to deal with the broken object. However, more often than not, someone, perhaps my beautiful bride, would express urgency about the item.

I would then venture into that corner of the garage and deal with the brokenness. More often than not, there was only one solution. I would look at that broken object. Knock it around a few times with a hammer. Crack it open. Tinker with it beyond repair. Then I would gather all the parts and bear them away to the trashcan to be removed permanently from the premises.

This, friends, is a picture of expiation. It’s a broken picture, held together by duct-tape, wire hangers, and whatever other contraptions I typically fabricate to poorly fix stuff. But that’s just the point.

I’m a feeble human. My illustrations hold up about as well as my repairs. I am in need of a master wordsmith to demonstrate the complex task that God accomplished in removing sin. I need a master craftsman to go about the repair necessary. Not just to fix my broken illustration or broken objects in the garage, but to fix everything: me, my family, society, and all God’s creation. Through Christ’s suffering on the cross, not just my brokenness is handled, but all the world’s brokenness is handled.

What is Expiation?

One component of this repair process is often grossly overlooked, but it is critical. It is called expiation. John Frame, in his excellent systematic theology, describes expiation. He says, “This means that Jesus bore our sins, took them on himself, and therefore did away with them” (Systematic Theology, 902).

READ THE REST OF THIS POST AT SERVANTSOFGRACE.ORG.

Everyday Theology edited by Kevin Vanhoozer

EverydayTheologyBibliography

Kevin Vanhoozer, Charles Anderson and Michael Sleasman: editors. Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2007. 288 pp. $24.99.

Category

Expositional Resources

Summary

Everyday Theology teaches pastors, theologians, and church members to study and engage culture through the lens of biblical, theological, and gospel rich means. Edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, puts forward a helpful primer on cultural engagement. Part one introduces students to the process, purpose, and product of cultural exegesis.

Vanhoozer argues that we should not just be biblical exegetes, we should be cultural exegetes as well. A cultural exegete is one who is able to read and write culture. As readers a cultural exegete engages in cultural hermeneutics. As writers a cultural exegete fulfills the role of a cultural agent. He or she is able to read cultural memes, scripts, texts, trends, practices, and root metaphors.

Vanhoozer defines culture as, “[The] distinctly human world that persons create by doing things not by reflex but freely as expressions of desire, duty, and determination” (23). Collective society determines culture. It does so through works in the world. For culture to exist there must be a work resulting from hegemony of ideas that form the framework of a worldview. This work is put within a context of the world in which culture is expressed, experienced, and explored.

Part two, three, and four helps readers see the outworking of the cultural exegesis process. In these 10 articles we see the how Vanhoozers’ students have applied the principles in part one, reading culture and in turning writing proposals of how to biblically respond to culture.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Part one is the frame and mortar of this book. Without reading part one, nothing will stand and stick. As a pastor, Everyday Theology has transformed the approach in which I engage social media, counseling, and preaching. I quickly wish to apply the biblical model for living, meanwhile forgetting that those I interact with are not necessarily sold on this model. The cultural fog in which they live may cloud their judgment. This book helps us think through how to navigate people out of the fog with the map of Scripture. Then once the fog is clear we can use the sextant of theology to read the stars of culture that point to the fundamental questions of purpose, meaning, and value.

Though this is by far a macro study on cultural engagement, it is very easy to take these concepts and think about them on a micro level. Chapter by chapter the reader encounters various cues of culture such as cash registers, hip-hop, busyness, and blogs.

Rating

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

Pastors who wish to be men of Issachar, who understood the times, will want to put Everyday Theology on their night stand. I recommend reading part one in one sitting, and then reading a chapter each night for ten days. The nature of the articles make for fast reading.

 

View-Worthy: 4.16.14

Headliner

Kevin DeYoung. Are Christians in America Persecuted?

The short answer is “Yes, all the time.”

The not as short answer is: “Yes, Christians in America are persecuted, but not as frequently, consistently, or with nearly the intensity that Christians are persecuted in many other parts of the world.”

For a longer answer, keep reading.

Deal of the Day

Raised? by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson $2.99

Book Review

Gloria Furman. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full. Reviewed by Kimberly Campbell.

Links

David Murray. Top 10 Books on Christ in the Old Testament. Murray has curated a great list of resources for you to study Jesus in the Old Testament. You’ll want to add these to your library or read one or two of them as time allows.

David Schrock. Six Keys to Detecting the Prosperity Gospel. Schrock has curated excellent material on the prosperity gospel. Get got up on this conversation at his site.

Thomas Kidd. Churches “Pandering” to Millennials? 

Over at the Juicy Ecumenism blog, my friend Mark Tooley gives some historical perspective on why changing theology to suit the perceived preferences of the younger generation is always a bad idea. While the church should never “pander” to anyone, the church does have a responsibility to “cater” to those who might be making decisions about faith and the church.

Edify

Job 8:13 “Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish.”

“A man full of hope will be full of action.” Thomas Brooks

10 Non-Spiritual But Shameless, Satirical and Memorable T4G Moments

Today, I sipped on Starbucks Oprah Chai — which is what they are called now, if you didn’t know — while I browsed through other’s Together for the Gospel reflections. Together for the Gospel, widely known as T4G, is a conference held every other year in Louisville Kentucky. I have gone to the last two, and they have been extremely edifying experiences. But edifying, does not mean a little fun was not had. And so without further ado, I give you 10 geeky, young, restless, reformed and stereotypical moments experienced at T4G.

10. That moment in Einstein Brothers where one guy leaned over to another and said, “I just got a text that Kevin DeYoung and the rest of the panel are walking down 4th Street.” And the two of them took off after them. I can only imagine what they did when they found them. It was probably something like stopping 100 feet away, staring, and then looking at each other and saying, “Alright, what’s next? Let’s go to the zero dollar bookstore and head home.” They should have built tabernacles.

9. That moment where Mark Dever made everyone do squats at the beginning of the conference for fifteen minutes. You know what I mean. He asks a bunch of questions over and over again. People stand. People sit. Then we do it all over again. Most of us are confused, whether we are standing or sitting. I bet he muses to himself each T4G, “Now let’s see how many miles they walk over the next three days. This schtick never gets old.”

8. That moment where I finally told the guy I’d been talking to for thirty minutes that we should sit down. My legs were aching and my shoulder was tight from wearing my satchel. It was around that time where I started seeing everyone else at the conference randomly doing calf stretches. I think I saw Mark Dever pointing and laughing as he read William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.

7. That moment Derek Rishmawy turned around and said with a big cheesy grin “Can you believe we’re riding with the Band of Blogger panel.” And I cooly responded, eyebrows raised, “Yeah.” But I felt on the inside how he looked on the outside. I saw Justin Taylor quietly grin and then Denny Burk said, “I don’t know you guys. Who are you?” I think only Dave Furman had a reasonable explanation. Later Derek confessed he was being somewhat sarcastic, but I don’t believe it.

6. That moment that Anyabwile and MacArthur walked down the middle of Fourth St. after a plenary session and everyone was like, “Dude, they’re walking in our midst.” It reminded me of when Rocky cut the Russian in Rocky IV. They are human.

5. That moment I met Jason Helopoulos and I led with a panicked, “My family does family worship.”

4. That moment that Kevin DeYoung walked up next to me, picked up a brochure at the Westminster booth, and shook one of the reps hands on Thursday. I nearly wet my pants, burned my ThM, and started over at Westminster. Nearly.

3. That moment when everyone started spreading information and misinformation about when Piper would speak, just to keep us all interested in attending ALL the sessions.

2. Every moment of Bob Kauflin’s humility and the beautiful sound of 7000 men singing Crown Him with Many Crowns (Okay, forgive me for one special spiritual moment).

1. That moment I excitedly walked up to Mez McConnell, shook his hand, and said, “Mez, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your ministry and your writing.” To which he responded, “Dude, in my country, people just give each other a head nod.” Yep, that’s what they do in America too, unless their socially awkward like me.

Those are a few the memorable, satirical, and somewhat embarrassing moments that happened. There is more to share. I shamelessly went to an informal gathering called “Tweet It Up.” Yep. Bloggers and editors are nerds. And I saw way too much logo apparel that has a strange onomatopoeia of that sound you make when you vomit a little in your mouth, “ERLC.”

There are also a few things that I wish had not happened. I wish that Rachel Held Evans had not made her way into as many conversations. I wish that there was less celebrity-ism celebrated. I wish I would have passed on more french fry opportunities. I wish I wasn’t so underdressed every time I was around John MacArthur. I wish I had known about the lounge with outlets on the third deck of the Yum Center before Thursday afternoon. I wish that less people — after hearing I was a Dallas grad — did not begin their next question with, “Do you think that Dallas Seminary has…?” No, Dallas has not jumped the shark yet. Same gospel. Same team guys. Same team.

Let’s end on this note. I fellowshipped with a lot of people I had not seen in some time, and I met a bunch of people who were only pixels previously. I encouraged a number of pastors and bloggers, likewise they encouraged me. I witnessed many gathered to pray for one another. A lot of young men left eager to preach the gospel. I hung out with the fellows that I drove down with on a number of occasions. I even got free shaving cream from the hotel. You always forget to pack something. I returned home with a lot of books, an encouraged soul, and an exhausted body.

I bet there are about 6,999 others who have done likewise. If you know one of those people, please pray for them. Pray for a flourishing, faithful, and fruitful ministry.

What were some of your memorable T4G 2014 moments?

Here’s another one of mine:

mezT4G

New Series on The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall

ChristianinCompleteArmourWilliamGurnallMy friend at Banner of Truth shipped a copy of The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall to me today. Beginning next week we will start a 3 month series of reflections from this seminal work from a faithful Puritan. These posts will run on Tuesdays.

Today let’s look at a brief portrait of William Gurnall, along with an introduction to The Christian in Complete Armour, both adapted from Randall Peterson’s and Joel Beeke’s excellent primer on the Puritans, Meet the Puritans.

William Gurnall

William Gurnall lived form 1616-1679. He came from a prominent family in Lynn. His father served as an alderman and later mayor in the city of Lynn. Gurnall studied a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Emmannuel College, Cambridge. Gurnall’s ministry lasted for 35 years at Lavenham, the most influential church in West Suffolk. He married Sarah Mott in 1646, and they had 14 children.

Gurnall embraced Church of England’s ecclesiology his entire ministry, and is one who signed the Act of Uniformity in 1662. Doctrinally he accepted Puritan values and convictions. Because he was not one of those ejected from the church, Gurnall’s standing amongst his ministerial peers declined.

Gurnall is most known for this work, The Christian in Complete Armour that we will be feeding from over the next quarter. After 35 years of faithful and humble service to the Lord, Gurnall was called home to eternal bliss on October 12, 1679.

The Christian in Complete Armour

I think this book is an essential work that should be in everyone’s library, pastor or lay person alike. This book is an extensive commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20. It has undergone numerous printings over the centuries. Peterson and Beeke say, “It is the most well-known of the Puritan manuals on spiritual warfare, and has provided much spiritual comfort for beleaguered saints over the centuries.”

This book is sectioned in two parts. The first part encourages readers to war against our enemy and sin. The second part helps them manage war successfully. Satan wants to tempt, depress, and discourage the spiritually regenerate. This work helps us resist his snares. The Christian in Complete Armour is practical and doctrinally balanced.

For the sake of this study, I will be using Banner of Truth’s unabridged one volume work. If you wish to join me in this study, I suggest ordering it today, here. While you’re at it, browse Banner of Truth’s collection of other fine Puritan works that withstand the test of time.